Saturday morning saw the UNSW/ES Stingrays Division One team line up against the Wollondilly Knights in a must-win clash at Mahoney Oval.
The Stingrays needed to take out the game to keep their finals dreams alive, and they played like it was a do or die match. They broke tackles, did not stop running and the momentum never faltered. It was a great first quarter with a few top marks to give the Stingrays a commanding lead of 26-0.
In the second quarter, the Stingrays continued to simply glide around defenders as they made play after play towards the goals. The Knights got very little of the ball, and when they did they usually were tackled swiftly, or out-marked. The highlight of the quarter came as a Stingray was running towards goal, turned to dodge a defender who slipped, allowing the Stingray to turn back around and goal. This allowed for a lead of 51—0.
Early on in the third quarter, it looked like it might have been more of the same but the Knights did rally and were able to give a better effort. They played a lot of the quarter in their own half and applied a lot more pressure to the Stingrays, and were rewarded for their effort with their first goal of the match towards the end of the period.
The last quarter saw more of the same, with the Knights continuing to fight. The Stingrays were too good across the field though, with a clever team goal brought about as the ball was almost tunnel-balled back to a player, who then collected and kicked straight for a goal. The team was jubilant with the end result, with the scoreboard reading 11.13 (79) to the Knights 1.3 (9).
The Stingrays were brilliant throughout the match, and their Coach Kate Edwards was delighted with the win which included four first goal kickers and nine overall. Kate Marks, Ali How, Sarah Taylor and Sarah Langdon all scored their first majors, a just reward for their continued improvement in 2017.
“This was our best result of the season”, Edwards said. “We had a really tight game against these guys last year, the turnaround is evidence of how much we have improved.”
The Division One team has never made the final series, and are now in contention after two big results. Edwards was encouraged by the girl’s efforts when under pressure to perform, acknowledging the “last couple of games have been must win-games, for us… [to score] 75 last week and 79 this week is a really incredible thing.”
This week sees the team play Sydney Uni at Trumper Park in their first clash this year, the result of which will be season defining.
“This is the perfect preparation for that”, Edwards said. “We needed two good wins and we’ve had two fantastic wins. It’s going to be a big one.”
Get down and show your support as the girls fight for their position in the Sydney AFL finals series. Kick off at 2:30pm.
Goal Kickers: J. Still 3, L. O”Brien, Z. Devlin, C. Marks, S. Taylor, R. Hardy, S. Langdon, E. Mccrossin, A. How
Best Players: L. Talbot-Le Scraigne, K. Huybers, A. How, S. Taylor, J. Still, E. Mccrossin
Goal Kickers: L. Kuschert
Best Players: L. Kuschert, R. McCready, T. Frendo, S. Francis, B. Strange, J. Finey